Perusing Facebook, I came across This article, which talks about photography at weddings. More specifically, non-photographers taking pictures during the wedding. The writer uses a picture in which the groom is looking past guests holding up their phones.
As someone who is generally bothered by handheld technology at events and gatherings, I understood the photographer’s complaint. Not only does it look bad in the professional photos the bride and groom are paying for, it is a distraction and keeps the guests from being fully present in the wedding.
This goes for intimate dinners or gatherings with friends. I’m always bothered when it becomes “phone-time,” the term my friends and I dubbed for the moments where somehow our phones drag our attentions away from real life interactions. I’m guilty of it, of course, but I hate when it happens. I feel guilty that I’m checking Facebook when my friends are in front of my face. Once, at a game night with my friends, one of us checked our phones. This may not be the most Earth-shattering thing to happen, but I couldn’t imagine who my friend was talking to. “What other friends do you have? We are all literally here! In this room!” My friend laughed at our outburst, her cheeks turning slightly pink, telling us we were right and that it was just a habit.
But back to this photographer. While it is probably impossible, and a little unfair, to ban electronics from a wedding, I find him totally justified. The photographer is paid to take pictures of the event so that you don’t have to! You can have fun! And look at the pictures later! That sounds great to me, because I’d rather be having fun with my friends than taking mediocre pictures with my phone.
Speaking from a photographer’s point of view, I’d love it if the photo wasn’t compromised by others with their phones up. The lack of visual distractions like other cameras is a totally understandable thing to want. Just be present and get off your phones, you’re at an event that was most likely planned with excruciating detail. If they’ve hired a photographer, do both parties a service and unplug.
If they haven’t, then I guess go for it! It’s fun to be a part of the documenting, just maybe keep it for the moments where you won’t get in the way. Discretion is probably key, and so is moderation. Don’t step out in the aisle, get in the way of cutting the cake, or anything else that is an Important Moment.
As Mr. Stewart rightly put it, “you are witnesses to their marriage, so for goodness sake, watch them with your eyes and your minds, not your phones.” I totally agree with this advice, and I’m glad I indulged in some phone bashing when I got the chance.